Regarding your Sept. 9 editorial "Teaching 9/11": If Americans are at all serious about preventing terrorist attacks, the only sensible plan of action would be to understand terrorism's root causes and work to eliminate them. In that regard, a "deeper appreciation" of the US "role in the world" should include forthright analyses of the US's morally objectionable foreign policy.
Given that America is currently engaging in policies that will likely generate the very same hatred that led to the Sept. 11 attacks, perhaps critical engagement by ordinary Americans is a more meaningful alternative.
Jason W. Hannan
Your Sept. 9 editorial "Pilots carrying heat," on pilots carrying handguns misses the mark. Everyone trusts these pilots with a multimillion-dollar airplane, but not when it comes to a handgun worth a couple of hundred dollars. This is not to say that the value of the object is important. Rather, it is the complexity of that multimillion-dollar aircraft that we trust to these pilots, pilots who make potentially life-affecting decisions.
I agree that pilots are the last defense against terrorists. Who else is in a better position to defend the aircraft than its captain? Remember, air marshals cannot be on every flight. Terrorists know this. I say arm the pilots with a handgun.
Your Sept. 6 article "In war, some facts less factual" relates instances where information from intelligence agencies has been selected or even created to best fit political goals. Goals may also be devised to fit a planned action.
Rather than eliminating a nuclear threat, the goals for this war might be really to gain US control of the immense Iraqi oil reserves, or to ensure permission for a pipeline under US control to bring out the oil from Baku on the Caspian Sea. We need a lot more knowledge about the administration's real intentions before we assent to an unprovoked attack on any nation.
Elk River, Minn.
Regarding your Sept. 5 story "PR war over Iraq escalates," it is not the United States that's "losing the global PR war," it is the Bush administration alone that is losing its support for a foolish and dangerous plan.
Attacking Iraq would put many American soldiers and Iraqi civilians directly in harm's way, and does not guarantee toppling Saddam Hussein from power.
The Bush administration has neither demonstrated that Iraq poses a threat to America, nor that a large-scale invasion would make Iraq a more stable country. Under such conditions, it is criminal to risk so many American and Iraqi lives.
Your Sept. 9 article, "Cathedral reflects a new vision of church," on Los Angeles's new cathedral erred on one aspect of the great controversy that engulfed the construction of this building. The desire of the Catholic Church to build a new cathedral preceded any so-called earthquake damage to their old building. Many at that time accused the church of using the earthquake as an excuse to build a new cathedral. No other buildings in the same area were damaged from an earthquake whose epicenter was dozens of miles away.
St. Vibiana still stands today waiting for a new use thanks in part to the work of preservationists.
West Hollywood, Calif.
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